Trash excuses today, recycle for tomorrow

  • Published
  • By Andrea Jenkins
  • 23d Wing Public Affairs

With January upon us, of course, most people are looking for ways to become the best, healthiest version of themselves, so why not take this opportunity to start or set an earth-friendly goal of reducing your carbon footprint in the New Year.

The U.S. makes up only five percent of the world’s population but is responsible for more than 40 percent of global waste, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Recycling is not only good for the environment but it is easy and everyone should do it.

One of the most common excuses for not recycling is that people often do not understand their personal impact or find themselves asking the question “what difference can one person really make when it comes to recycling?”

That attitude is often based on the opinion that one person’s global footprint is small.  The truth is the EPA estimates that the average person generates 4.4 pounds of trash every single day. With approximately 6,000 Airmen working on base, Moody alone is accumulating more than 985 tons of waste yearly.

With the amount of waste generated, the problem may seem larger than one individual can solve but everyone can help. For example, according to Recycle Across America’s website, the average person has the opportunity to recycle more than 25,000 cans in a lifetime and recycling just one aluminum soda can save enough energy to run a TV for three hours. One soda can may be a small recycling effort but in the grand scheme of things it can make a significant impact, especially if everyone were to recycle their used cans.

Another popular excuse for not recycling is the belief that recycling takes too much time and effort because recycling centers are not easily accessible.

With multiple recycling centers located on and off base, recycling doesn’t actually take that much time or effort. Moody has it’s own recycling center and every on base work center is recycle friendly. But recycling doesn’t have to stop when you leave work. Off-base recycling services offer residence curbside recycling programs. Lowndes County’s Advanced Disposal offers three disposal centers that are open five days a week and each center accept recyclables at no additional costs.

And lastly, another common argument from people who don’t recycle is that they don’t know what is recyclable and what is not. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, approximately 75 percent of the trash people toss is recyclable, but unfortunately only 25 percent is actually recycled. Both on and off base recycling centers offer single-stream recycling, which allows all approved recyclable items to be thrown in one container with absolutely no sorting. Most things are recyclable and many are labeled accordingly.

A little thought and consideration applied at the time of purchase and again when discarding can lead to establishing good recycling habits. So, as we usher in the New Year, throw the excuses in the trash and make a resolution to recycle.